If you’re completely committed to your training and want to make sure you don’t get injured, one of the ways to do this is to make sure your lumbar region is strong. I’m talking specifically about the muscles of the lower, middle part of your body.
Notice how I didn’t mention your abs? There’s a good reason for that. Too often people think having a solid six pack means having a strong “core”. While having strong abs is a good thing, it’s not the only thing, especially when you’re trying to reinforce your lumbar region.
EXERCISES TO HELP YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR LUMBAR REGION
ALTERNATE ARM LEG RAISE: 5 SETS, 10 REPETITIONS EACH SIDE
This exercise can be done in various ways. If you’re a beginner, start on your hands and knees while keeping your spine aligned. For athletes with better balance, prop yourself up on your hands and toes and, again, keep your spine straight. Then, very carefully lift and extend outward your opposite arm and foot.
This will activate all the support muscles along your mid to lower spine. Hold the position for 10 seconds, then switch.
SIDE PLANKS: 4 SETS EACH SIDE, 1 MINUTE EACH
Lay on a soft, yet firm surface on your side. Place your forearm directly under your shoulder and your body extended. Press up on your shoulder and lift your hips off the ground creating a triangle shape with your body and the floor. This exercise is an excellent way to develop your external obliques. If you’re unable to complete one minute, set a shorter goal then work your way up from there.
STABILITY BALL BACK EXTENSION: 4 SETS, 30-SECOND HOLD FOR BEGINNERS, 15-20 REPS FOR ADVANCED
Unlike regular back extensions, in this exercise, you do not have a brace behind your legs to hold you in place; instead, your entire midsection must activate to balance your body. Keeping your feet against a wall, rest your body so your pelvis is leaning on the stability ball.
Beginners should hold the flexed position at the point where the spine is extended and straight. More advanced athletes can lower and raise their body at a slow and controlled pace. Remember to bend only at the hips when performing the movement.
Your lower back and obliques should be trained three to four times per week so you can greatly reduce the risk of injuries such as disc herniations.
Enjoy your workout routines and get closer to your body goals, but make sure to stay injury-free by strengthening your lumbar region. Never push yourself beyond what you know your body can handle because, while it’s rewarding to achieve the body you want, it’s equally important to keep yourself safe and healthy.